Sunday, September 4, 2016

Reliving Rio

August 29, 2016. It has been two weeks since running the marathon at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. While away, I frequently posted pictures of the race, my Olympic experience, and family vacation as it was much easier, and far less time consuming, than sitting at my computer to write. 
I must admit that I have had some writer’s block. It seems like months since I ran the race that may well likely be the pinnacle of my running career. I’ve hardly known where to start in order to articulate everything. But when people ask me to share my “favourite thing”, without a doubt I think about this picture as it captures so much about my experience and emotions.


This moment was the moment.

Upon arrival to the village on August 9 after our 10 hr flight, I quickly and easily settled into my normal pre-marathon routine of rest, sleep, easy running (with one workout at the track), and proper eating/hydration. I knew I would have plenty of time to take it all in - the Olympic experience and Rio vacationing - after my event. I wasn’t there just to compete - I wanted to have a great race. Fortunately, Natasha Wodak, my roommate who ran a blazing 31:53 to place 22nd in the 10,000 m had a similar agenda as she was competing only 2 days before me. 
Because the marathon start was a 1+ hr drive from the village, Lanni and I stayed in a hotel with our support team the night before. Prior to leaving we met to discuss logistics and give Trent our bottles/gels, which would be handed to us during the race. To play it safe, I ate my last meal at the village before departing. I had one last tune-up treatment session with Ron at the hotel then settled in nicely for the night, setting out my gear and watching the games on tv. The bed was softer and bouncier than the firm village beds (which I loved) and the air conditioner was a bit rattly but I slept well, like every other night in the village. In the morning I ate my simple bread and jam pre-race meal and started sipping Eload then met Lanni for coffee downstairs around 5:30 am. We got into our race kits, packed up then drove with the crew to the race site. We rested our legs, made several washroom trips, jogged a short warm up, and made our way to the call room to check in, get our chip and new race bib for the front. It was busy and you could feel the nerves in the air but other than that, relatively uneventful as far I was concerned. I was calm, feeling good and ready to go. Heading out to the start line was a bit chaotic. It was loud and crowded and they were calling names of the top seeded athletes but few were responding. It was humid, as expected, and the bright sun was beating down. Eventually we made our way to the start and before we knew it, the gun went off. I had successfully spotted my family, high in the nosebleed section and gave them a wave, assuming they likely wouldn’t see it amongst the 157 women who started the race. And there I was, competing in the 2016 Olympic Marathon. Given the warm conditions that I prepared for, and my level of fitness, I figured I shouldn’t go any faster than 3:35 min/km. The first few km were around 3:30 so I slowed myself down to a more appropriate pace. This was going to be my race; I was going to run my pace, start conservatively, and only be concerned about bettering my placement. And that I did. I successfully got into a steady rhythm, sometimes running with a small group, while other times running alone or with only 1 or 2 other women. I consumed my Eload and 7 gels at the 8 stations, positioned every 5 km, and poured an entire bottle of water on my head at every opportunity to help keep as cool as possible. Wearing a visor was perfect for this. The route was flat and consisted of approximately 4 km to the 3 x 10 km loops followed by 8 km to the finish. The support along the route was energizing and encouraging, and about the only struggle I had was a side cramp, which didn’t even last that long. At the half way point I decided I needed to push a bit more and start picking people off. At one point I was about 70th but eventually made my way down to 35th (I was ranked 50th and 133 finished the race). Once I got to the Sambodromo it was all about celebrating my personal victory. I gave myself a little fist pump and the crowd went wild! So I embraced the moment and took it for all its worth. Waving my hands, raising my arms in the air and giving additional fist pumps created the loudest and most exciting roar, more thrilling than I ever could have imagined. I crossed the line with a huge smile on my face, thankful for my performance, then looked to the sea of red to my right. I couldn’t believe it. My family was right there, and I was able to run directly to them! Embracing with tears of joy and cheers of happiness, I lived my dream. On many occasions I’ve visualized running into the arms of my loved ones after a successful race. I was doing just that, and it was the Olympics! Later that day when we were at the Canada House, someone came over to me to show me the picture that was getting a fair amount of views. That is when I really got emotional. The tears started to flow as looked at that picture, knowing that not only did I experience a moment of a lifetime but someone captured it. In addition to my Christian faith, getting married, and giving birth, I realized this was a significant event that I would treasure immensely for the rest of my entire life. 
After the race I spent the day with my family then returned to the village for a mandatory security meeting. I then met up with my family again. We really enjoyed our time together, watching table tennis, going to the beach and Christ the Redeemer, spending a night at the track (where Derek Drouin won gold in high jump), having morning coffee on the veranda with mountains in view, and savouring meals together, some cooked in while others enjoyed out. The house was beautiful and spacious and a mere 5 minute walk from a playground, various shops, and the beautiful beach. The night before my family's flight, we said our goodbyes and I took an uber back to the village. I did some easy running and swimming, relaxed by the pool with a book, enjoyed some sweets, cheered on our Canadian athletes in the race walk, marathon and at the track, enjoyed a dinner with Natasha and her parents at Copacabana, and celebrated at the Closing Ceremony. It was an incredible 15 days.
I am so grateful that I had both a successful race and Olympic experience. It was everything I hoped for and imagined, and then some. The love and support I received before and after has been so heart-warming and I definitely felt the strength of peoples’ prayers for health and safety for myself and my family.  Thank you to each and everyone of you, particularly my husband, Jonathan. My heart is full. It is well with my soul.  


August 8. #TeamDuChene before I departed. They would fly a few days later.
We made it! Twenty years since Canada had a woman compete in the Olympic marathon. Here we are, Lanni and I, about to settle in at our hotel, the night before race day. Race start was about 1 hour from the Olympic Village.
And we're off. 157 started and 133 finished. 

A little wave to thank the folks cheering for the maple leaf.

The marathon route consisted of about 4 km to a 3 x 10 km loop followed by 8 km to the finish. 

The crowd went wild when I started celebrating on the straight away toward the finish. So I worked it! The roar was absolutely incredible. 

Many from home sent me screen shots, saying how emotional they were when watching me finish.   

Thrilled. Joyous. Elated.



Love this picture. Rio Olympic rings and celebratory fist in the air.

Looking across and seeing my family and coach. I immediately ran toward them and we embraced with tears of happiness and cheers of joy.

Could not stop smiling. 


Officially an Olympian.
Lanni doubled (having also completed the 10,000 m) and I showed it can be done with age and as a parent.


Canadian Marathoners (L to R) at the Closing Ceremony: Eric Gillis (3 x Olympian), Lanni Marchant, Reid Coolsaet (2 x Olympian), and Krista DuChene.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

This Is It!



Well, this is it.
The last time I wrote a post, I had 6 weeks to go. Now, I have one. One week until I race in the Women's Marathon at the Rio Olympic Games at 9:30 am (8:30 EST on cbc) on August 14, 2016.
In mid-July I was gearing up to train for three of my highest mileage weeks ever while taking full advantage of the hot and humid Ontario summer we were experiencing. It was at this time that this whole Olympic thing started to feel real. This was it. I filled and consumed countless bottles of Eload, was in my pyjamas before most people would even start dinner, agonized in the sauna, and doubled up on my treatments to ensure I was doing everything possible to be at my best.

[A huge shout out goes to Aluminate as we were getting some work done on the house (siding, windows, etc) during this time. When I returned from a run, we compared our work in the heat, and determined which corner of the house would be best for my nap while they continued. I enjoyed their calm classical music, appreciated their cleanliness, and most importantly loved the final product.]

Coach Rick and I were hoping I could mimic my training from 2013 when I had my best year. And I think we were fairly successful in doing that. I may not quite be as fast as we focused more on acclimating for the heat and humidity while appropriately adjusting paces. My tempos are key fitness indicators and even though they have been slightly slower, the overall pace for the entire run has been faster. More of them were outside within a 25-35 km run than inside on the treadmill within 25-30 km. My average weekly mileage for my three peak weeks was 172 km compared to 165 km, and most of my runs occurred between 10:30am-12:30pm, which allowed me to start with more humidity and end with more heat.  I feel like I am stronger and more equipped to handle a race in tough conditions, which is more about placement than time. My weight is 118 lb and RHR at 36, which also gives me confidence that I am ready.

On Monday, August 8 I will fly with several athletes from Athletics Canada since August 9 is the first day we can enter the athletes'  village. August 12 is the first day of competition. I am really looking forward to having the race of my life, and taking in the entire Olympic experience. Wow, what a journey! Again, I thank each and everyone of you for everything you have done to make this possible. Let's do this.

Second last tempo within a long run. Thanks, Rachel and Mitch!

Rio! Rio! Rio!

Oldest, and proud of it!

Proud to be CANADIAN!

Enjoying my last run with the gang. 

Team Krista shirts. Thanks again, J&K.

Coach Rick, the two boys and I headed to Guelph to get my Canada gear and receive treatment from physiotherapist, Brenda Scott-Thomas. Loved my time there as a Gryphon (ice hockey).

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Thank You!


For years I have thought about how to express my gratitude for the amazing support I've received in my running career.  It is terribly difficult to do so in one email, tweet or post so I can only hope that each and everyone of you know how thankful I am. Truly thankful. 
Thank you for: your kindness and believing in me, giving me your time and energy, supporting me financially or otherwise, praying for or thinking of me during the lows, celebrating with me in the highs, allowing me to inspire you, sending notes of encouragement and love, allowing me to speak or be silent, caring for my children, speaking so kindly of my husband and his generosity, cheering for me at races, providing professional expertise, and being a true friend or caring family member. I am blessed, loved, proud, honoured. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
It is well with my soul!
Thank you, 
Krista  

Saucony footwear and apparel.

Eload Sport Nutrition.
Essential Physiotherapy and Wellness


Therapeutic Massage Counsel

David Zulak Registered Massage Therapist 
Smith Optics
Stoked Oats


Dale Draaistra (2nd from left), one of two people to first say, "I think you should try to make the Olympic Team some day".

Paris Runner's Den
Coach Rick Mannen.

Josie Mannen, Coach Rick's Assistant

Lana Furry - one of two people to first say, "I think you should try to make the Olympic Team some day".

Brant Community Church

Family.

Family.

Maureen and Jeanetta - cared for all three children since birth. 

Clayton and James - running and friendship.

Monkey Butter
Liberte. 


#TeamDuChene.


City of Brantford.

Alan Brookes and the Canada Running Series. 

Kiwanis Field.

Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre.



Dale, Mitch, James and Clayton (and their supportive families).
Montreal General Hospital and Brantford General Hospital
Kenyan Kids Foundation.
My absolute #1, Jonathan.
Micah DuChene - leadership and responsibility with or without anyone around. 

Seth DuChene - caring, supporting and willing to make coffee! 

Leah DuChene - obedient and helpful even when it's tiring. 

Maple Grove 
Celine Tuttle - childcare.
Sue Spence - stretching, breathing, and friendship.

Millards

Heather Tuttle - childcare and always ready, willing and able to help #TeamDuChene.

Mr. Tony - good family friend and loving dog sitter.  



Ben Kaplan and iRun Magazine

My one and only big sister, Janna.
Grammy and Grampa.
100 Huntley St. - opportunity to share my story.

Special and generous friends who know me well. 

Essential Physio.

Surprises from friends and family. Thanks, Jennifer and Kenneth!



Some answers and links to common questions:
1. What is Rule 40 (click here) ? 
2. Women's Marathon is August 14 at 8:30 am (EST). 
5. Athletics Canada will not be at the August 5 Opening Ceremony. Look for at the Closing Ceremony, August 21!
7. Brant Community Church also hosting an event:
"Note change of Sunday service on August 14th.... The Yugo team is hosting a light breakfast as we cheer on Krista DuChene at the olympics.
The Live Stream will be set up in the Community Room starting at 8:30 am. The service will follow the event.Free will offering will be taken for Yugo Missions."